Despite a tragic accident at age 20, Ron has maintained a fiercely independent attitude and grateful outlook. Those characteristics have guided him throughout his life. And recently, they helped guide him to the Casa de la Luz Palliative Care program.
A Hospice Love Story
Following a whirlwind romance, the Sagars experienced family life, job changes and hospice, together. With the support of the Casa de la Luz hospice team, Judi and Bob were able to focus on their love for each other.
My mom had a way of making everyone feel special in her presence. When she found out she had to go to hospice, and that there wasn’t anything else the doctors could do to improve her condition, she was sad because she loved people, animals, and everything about our Earth. She said, “I want to die with dignity and without pain.” That’s exactly what Kanmar Place and Casa de la Luz provided for her.
Kanmar Place is a sacred house. I knew my mother was in the best possible hands she could be in when she was living at Kanmar Place. We put up photos of her family, brought her dog for visits, and several people in the family brought musical instruments to play for her. She loved to sing. The staff was incredibly supportive, and I always felt like I could go to anyone and at any time. I felt at home at Kanmar Place. I could come and stay with my mom and enjoy our time, and I knew everything was going to be OK. I always felt she was clean and comfortable. This was her final home.
I learned so much through this experience. When you hear the word hospice, you start grieving. I learned to just hold my mother’s hand and love her all the way to the end. It was a gift. It was an incredible journey, and Kanmar Place and Casa de la Luz made it happen. She got her wish and she sang her way to heaven!
The staff and caregivers also held her hand and guided her. I knew that medically she was in good hands. This made it so wonderful for me to be able to just be with her and not worry about anything else. We laughed, we sang, we danced a little, and we cried. I also brought in my iPad so that we could Skype with many family members who live on the East Coast. It was wonderful for her and for them. They got to see her when she was still looking and feeling good. It was a gift, too.
Someone said that a good death is as good as a good birth. This is true. My mom died at sunset—her favorite time of day. Six months after her death (to the day), I attended the Casa de la Luz memorial service at St. Philips. It was truly amazing. My mother would have been so proud and honored to be recognized this way along with so many others. It was beautiful.
What a gift I got from Kanmar Place and Casa de la Luz! I can never thank the caregivers and the staff enough for everything!
Thank you again!
My father, Bruce, given his humble Midwestern origins, evolved into a very accomplished chap. He was at once a historian, a diplomat, a converser of no less than seven languages—as well as an author of several books and a screenplay.
In September 2014, my father was finally close to being medically discharged after nearly 20 days of various hospitalization following a complicated surgery. As his only son, I needed to start taking seriously my father’s future and what I could expect. At this juncture there were narrow options and a fair amount of concern just before I was to finally take him back home.
I have never had to think about hospice, or even what it really meant. These sorts of considerations and the notion of caretaking was rather new to me, even though I had already been doing it without realizing it for quite some time. Yet I understood we had turned a new corner and that I was going to be at a loss without some form of help.
Casa de la Luz was whispered into my ear on several occasions, and then they finally emerged into our lives like a beacon of light as we were on the precipice of desperation. Being able to keep my father at home provided for a far richer and more intimate environment considering the alternatives. I can express unequivocally that Casa de la Luz not only refined and extended the quality of my father’s life, but saved me from potentially insurmountable turmoil that I’m not quite certain how I would have handled otherwise without their delicate care. Beyond scheduled caretaking visits, Casa de la Luz availed themselves to our needs at any time, day or night.
Between the nursing care from his RN, the bathing assistance from his CNA, along with the tender and lenitive touch that Casa de la Luz made certain that my father and I had, accorded me the time and very importantly—the energy—to provide quality moments with my father. My father never ate a bad meal as a result. He was able to share time with family and loved ones, gaze upon the mountains, the sky, and pet our beautiful dog on the head while enjoying himself.
What more could one really ask for.
Mack had cancer and we spent some time in other cities while he received treatments. We came to Tucson in September 2011. Mack needed assisted care by then and he decided we needed to start with hospice. Neither of us had any previous experience with hospice, however it wasn’t long before we learned what a comforting and supportive organization hospice is and how important their help would be to us.
Mack’s personal nurse took excellent care of him and we always looked forward to her visits. She would say, “What is important to you today, Mack?” And he would answer, “You are,” because he knew that with hospice I would not be alone during his journey. The social worker would come and give me so much encouragement. It was a relief to have somebody there to answer my questions and help me take care of him. Even though the nurses don’t live with you and you are the primary caregiver, they are always available 24/ 7 and ready to help. Prescriptions and medical supplies were delivered to our front door within just a few hours of the request. We were never short on supplies to help make Mack more comfortable.
Since I had never been with anyone who died, the hospice staff were compassionate and supportive, explaining the dying process to me as needed. I was never fearful of the unknown and with the knowledge they gave me, I felt strong and confident to be with Mack.
Mack’s passing was gifted, full of love, care and support. I wish that everyone would be able to experience this gift of dying, along with all of their loved ones. I am most grateful to hospice for all they did to make Mack’s last days fearless and peaceful and for giving me, a loving memory.
“After 60 years of marriage, I’ve had many blessings, and one of those was the care we received from Casa de la Luz. I was so grateful to have Bob home during this time, we really wouldn’t have had it any other way. When we were going through this, it meant everything to have so many caring and professional people supporting us. It is too bad that more people don’t understand hospice care or are afraid of the word, hospice, because we all need to know about this service – and eventually will all need it. I did go to the Casa Memorial Service but have not taken advantage of the support groups after Bob died. I guess I did most of my mourning with Bob before he died, so we experienced that together—and when it was his time, we were ready.”